6 December 2010

Single Parenting and A Strategy for Xmas Cards

With J in deepest Africa for a couple of weeks, I have been left sole responsibility of Guy and Kitty. I suppose it’s some sort of compliment that my wife feels happy enough with my parental stewardship and that she can go off on her travels but the kids behave perfectly when she’s away, more so than when she’s at home (maybe a psychologist can work that one out) but I wasn’t too happy when Kitty came home the other night and said that one of her teachers, aware of her ‘single parent status’, asked if she was being fed properly. Cheek!

Not my lasagne - mine was better !
Fed properly! I made a lasagne the other night. My first attempt. The recipe was copied to the letter (apart from the grated nutmeg – I didn’t have any) from my cooking bible, Delia Smith. It was delicious and the testament to my prowess in the kitchen came from the mouths of my two ‘babes’ when I asked them, ‘if a lasagne is being made in future, who do you want to make it, your mother or me?’. ‘You’, was the resounding chorus. Boy, did I feel chuffed.

And then on Friday, the kids set off for school. Kitty being dropped off by car (instead of by scooter) at the bus stop at 7.20am with me in my dressing gown desperately hoping I didn’t have an accident, and Guy heading off at 8.45am on his scooter. 

At 9am the phone went. It was too late for Kitty to say the school bus hadn’t turned up and at that time, the only other thing it could be was Guy – premonition said he’d come off of his scooter and that’s exactly what had happened. He’d hit a patch of black ice (verglas not glace noir as you would expect!) and had skidded across the road. I asked him if he wanted picking up in the trailer (I assumed his scooter would be damaged) but he said he’d ride it home so thankfully, both he and the scooter were relatively unscathed.When he got home, he was a bit shaken up so he was packed back off to bed and I got on with the housework – not a problem when you’ve got Talksport on as you do it. J – take note.

Now I hadn’t had a lunch out all week so I suggested to Guy that we go off to the Midi which he was up for so in order to get him riding his scooter again, I said we should go in on our trusty two wheelers. We set off at 11.55am. I wanted to buy some stamps and post a couple of important Xmas cards so I stopped at the village post office and just as I reached the door, the postmistress (all of about 22 years old by the look of her) was pulling down the shutters.

‘Are you closing?’, I asked looking at my watch (it was 2 minutes to 12 – they shut at 12). ‘Yes – I’m closed’, she said (note the past tense). I looked at my watch again. ‘We’re closed’, she reiterated.
I grimaced at her. I couldn’t argue – I don’t have the vocabulary, well not in French, and in any case, there’s not much point in arguing with a French civil servant (where does the word ‘civil’ come into it?). You would have thought with me being a regular and picking up several parcels over the last couple of weeks (including two car tyres!) and quite obviously being a regular, she'd have shown some mercy - no chance! I looked at the opening hours on the wall (opening hours - that's a laugh)  to work out when to come back in but you'd need to be the memory man to remember all the times they are closed - sorry open! I've been trying to do it for 10 years and still haven't mastered it!

A bit grumpy, I headed off to the Midi where Guy had managed to get a table inside as it was too cold to eat on the terrace.

‘Should I go into Vence and post these Xmas cards?’ I thought, searching in my jacket for them and trying to work out a strategy for actually getting them into the French postal system. Only in France would you need to formulate a strategy to post some cards. 

‘What are you looking for?’ enquired Guy.

‘My cards – the ones I was going to post.’

‘You left them in the hall.’

Aaaagh! Good job I hadn’t managed to sweet talk my way into the post office I thought to myself. That could have been embarrassing.

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